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six eaglets released on the Isle of Wight

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Old Thursday 22nd August 2019, 19:59   #1
JPAC
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six eaglets released on the Isle of Wight

White-tailed eagles are gracing the skies of southern Britain for the first time in 240 years after six eaglets were released on the Isle of Wight.

https://www.theguardian.com/environm...uthern-britain
https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-englan...shire-49433490

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Old Thursday 22nd August 2019, 21:27   #2
Farnboro John
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White-tailed eagles are gracing the skies of southern Britain for the first time in 240 years after six eaglets were released on the Isle of Wight.
Hang on then, I must have dreamed the White-tailed Eagles at Brill, Sheppey, Old Basing, Cholderton..... oh, no I didn't.

Not only is this another stupid vanity project but the reporting is one hundred percent rubbish as well.

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Old Thursday 22nd August 2019, 22:40   #3
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Added links to first post.
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Old Friday 23rd August 2019, 06:20   #4
Farnboro John
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Added links to first post.
No offence meant, I knew perfectly well you were quoting a news item. Its just a very poorly researched one in addition to being a fairly bad idea. Not your fault!

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Old Friday 23rd August 2019, 07:33   #5
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Previously discussed at length here....

https://www.birdforum.net/showthread.php?t=370127
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Old Friday 23rd August 2019, 09:31   #6
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Originally Posted by Farnboro John View Post
Hang on then, I must have dreamed the White-tailed Eagles at Brill, Sheppey, Old Basing, Cholderton..... oh, no I didn't.

Not only is this another stupid vanity project but the reporting is one hundred percent rubbish as well.

John
I disagree - not only a worthy restoration project, but the reporting is hardly "one hundred percent rubbish". Sure there have been the occasional vagrants, but the point is it is 240 years since the breeders were persecuted out - so a moderately minor error I would say, just needed the addition of 'breeding', ie. 240 years since breeding birds graced the skies of southern Britain.
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Old Friday 23rd August 2019, 10:06   #7
Farnboro John
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I disagree - not only a worthy restoration project, but the reporting is hardly "one hundred percent rubbish". Sure there have been the occasional vagrants, but the point is it is 240 years since the breeders were persecuted out - so a moderately minor error I would say, just needed the addition of 'breeding', ie. 240 years since breeding birds graced the skies of southern Britain.
I know we've been round this block, but:

- Britain already has a substantial White-tailed Eagle population which will expand into all areas if the conditions exist to allow it (this includes absence of persecution: supposedly a prerequisite condition for reintroductions) so this is just a vanity project and the conditions are doubtful

- evidence of the number of territories on the Isle of Wight to match the releases is lacking, and in the wider South of England the conditions are more doubtful

For the specific article its a binary solution set, first WTE for 240 years right/wrong - wrong. As the birds are 1st years, its a bit soon to add "breeding". They might all just go elsewhere, and one of our recent wintering first years was from Finland, so potentially that could mean a long way off!

If the question is "would I like a population of WTE in Hampshire/IOW" then the answer is obviously yes. We shall see how this goes. If I am wrong that is a good thing.

Cheers

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Old Friday 23rd August 2019, 11:33   #8
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I know we've been round this block, but:

- Britain already has a substantial White-tailed Eagle population which will expand into all areas if the conditions exist to allow it (this includes absence of persecution: supposedly a prerequisite condition for reintroductions) so this is just a vanity project and the conditions are doubtful

- evidence of the number of territories on the Isle of Wight to match the releases is lacking, and in the wider South of England the conditions are more doubtful

For the specific article its a binary solution set, first WTE for 240 years right/wrong - wrong. As the birds are 1st years, its a bit soon to add "breeding". They might all just go elsewhere, and one of our recent wintering first years was from Finland, so potentially that could mean a long way off!

If the question is "would I like a population of WTE in Hampshire/IOW" then the answer is obviously yes. We shall see how this goes. If I am wrong that is a good thing.

Cheers

John
Spot on.
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Old Friday 23rd August 2019, 13:40   #9
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For the specific article its a binary solution set, first WTE for 240 years right/wrong - wrong.
A single error, and moderately minor, means the article is 'one hundred percent rubbish'? Gee, high standards.

We'll have to agree to disagree on the merits of the reintroduction - I personally see it as a good news story and, even if it were a 'vanity project', I would not care. I see no negative should they succeed.
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Old Friday 23rd August 2019, 13:44   #10
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I wish the scheme well but feel that the Nature Conservancy Council (there, that dates me), English Nature, Natural England.....or whatever they are changing their headed notepaper to this year would concentrate their time and energy on existing raptors that are under localised persecution ‘oop North

I cannot help thinking that this is the short straw that has been drawn that has the least negative response from that permanently outraged minority pressure group.....the Farmers.

The birds are from established Scottish birds, presumably 1st clutch, with no guarantee that they will hang around to see the next Garlic Festival. Indeed one of the Norwegian birds introduced during the ‘Eastern’ phase upon graduating to breeding condition promptly buggered off to raise young somewhere much safer.....Norway - only a few miles from where it came from Must be a ‘homing’ Eagle

We have come a long way from the Rhum introductions. I for one could not have forseen the success of these magnificent birds and i speak as somebody who spent 6 weeks helping feed the things in 1977 the year after the project started - under the watchful eye of John Love who become a father figure to the young Eagles

I had until this May in Poland only seen 1 WTE in the UK but it was the well-twitched Brill bird. Despite narrowed eyes i wish the scheme well...

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Old Friday 23rd August 2019, 13:46   #11
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PS of the vagrants in southern Britain in recent years, have there been any records of two or more together?
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Old Friday 23rd August 2019, 13:50   #12
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Hope they have better luck than the juvenile we had up here near Louth Lincolnshire. It was a suspected poisoning by a local farmer, not proved. Beautiful bird, looks enormous when close but blends in well with trees when perched. We used to call it cilla, from it's Latin name Haliaeetus albicilla, birders came from all over the UK to see it.
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Old Friday 23rd August 2019, 14:20   #13
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‘cilla’ in this case is Latin for tail and not to be confused with that other rare Scouse Warbler

Ironic that the Farming industry punches above its weight but quite a few i see are overweight and could do with punching #joke

How much illegal poison is lying around in old farm buildings up and down the country? It gives cause for concern - no wonder nobody wants to marry them

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Old Friday 23rd August 2019, 14:26   #14
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PS of the vagrants in southern Britain in recent years, have there been any records of two or more together?
Not aware of any. They aren't exactly annual as vagrants, even, and as previously mentioned we have one known Finnish bird so they don't represent expansion from nearby populations, just winter wanderings of young birds. Wintering groups of Rough-legged Buzzards are more common!

I'm not sure how far we can push the analogy but the increasing "efficiency" of persecution of Golden Eagles in Southern Scotland has scuppered expansion Southwards by them, so we might reasonably expect the same flak barrier will keep the Scottish WTE in check.

How many pheasants and partridges will Southern shooters be prepared to risk losing to Southern WTE? Maybe not many, maybe they won't mind - after all they don't shoot at cars, which kill vast numbers of their farmed shotgun-fodder. Believe what you will. Personally I would want to be pretty certain of a favourable response before putting vulnerable birds in harm's way.

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Old Friday 23rd August 2019, 14:36   #15
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I would have thought that releasing them on another island is a factor as they might hang around and become a feature rather than wandering over the ‘killing fields’ of the mainland where they can be blasted with impunity by people who feel they are above the Law which does little to enforce itself to a Judiciary that is almost part of a cosy cartel that doesn’t really give a toss - just my pre Bank Holiday thoughts

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Old Friday 23rd August 2019, 15:18   #16
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Does the Isle of Wight have a full time Wildlife Liason Officer in these days of cutbacks? Maybe Boris' promise of extra police force manpower doesn't extend to protecting wildlife?
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Old Friday 23rd August 2019, 19:39   #17
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Maybe Boris' promise of extra police force manpower doesn't extend to protecting wildlife?
I would have thought that English eagles would be right up his street - at least before Halloween......
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Old Saturday 24th August 2019, 05:40   #18
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Whatever happens to them will be blamed on Brexit.....unless the scheme is a roaring success and then the Farmers will claim the credit - roll on Halloween

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Old Wednesday 28th August 2019, 05:31   #19
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- Britain already has a substantial White-tailed Eagle population which will expand into all areas if the conditions exist to allow it (this includes absence of persecution: supposedly a prerequisite condition for reintroductions) so this is just a vanity project and the conditions are doubtful
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I'm not sure how far we can push the analogy but the increasing "efficiency" of persecution of Golden Eagles in Southern Scotland has scuppered expansion Southwards by them, so we might reasonably expect the same flak barrier will keep the Scottish WTE in check.
These two statements seem somewhat contradictory to me. You seem to be saying that WTE will spread out of Scotland naturally, so reintroduction elsewhere is pointless, but also saying that spreading from Scotland is not possible because of existing persecution. Surely a project to allow them to colonise beyond this area of persecution will be beneficial, and potentially more effective (in the short term) than relying on a change of behaviour in the human population.
I agree that efforts should be made to stop persecution of birds in southern Scotland (and elsewhere), but until that happens the Scottish population is effectively trapped.


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Originally Posted by Farnboro John View Post
For the specific article its a binary solution set, first WTE for 240 years right/wrong - wrong. As the birds are 1st years, its a bit soon to add "breeding". They might all just go elsewhere, and one of our recent wintering first years was from Finland, so potentially that could mean a long way off!
I presume this is the reason that they are releasing fledgeling birds. These may wander but will have a tendency to return close to their fledging site (ie Isle of Wight), much as you report for the Finnish bird. This is one reason that the spread of birds from populations elsewhere is slow.


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So far as persecution goes I think it is fairly light in Hampshire and round about: we've plenty of Buzzards, the Kites are going from strength to strength, Goshawks do well in the New Forest - but we're not exactly over-run with them up here in NE Hampshire yet..... Peregrines we do have but half of them breed and roost in towns where shotgun-toting gamekeepers are rarely seen, so that may not be much of a guide to what happens to really predatory raptors in rural areas. Hopefully it would be OK.
(This is from the other thread linked above)

You seem to be happy about the presence of Goshawks and Kites in Hampshire. I know the origins of the goshawks is uncertain, but the kites certainly only go there from a reintroduction. Personally I see no difference between this and the eagle reintroduction - kites could have been left to recolonise (very slowly) from Wales, but instead were reintroduced across the country and are now flourishing. Do you think that was a mistake?


Personally I am strongly in favour of this reintroduction and I hope it will be successful. There is the potential for birds to spread from here along the English coast, and potentially also cross the channel to the coasts of Normandy and Brittany, or the Channel Islands. It will add to the birding experience on the south coast, and will allow the human population of southern England to become reacquainted with wild predators after several centuries of ecologically-impoverished countryside.
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Old Wednesday 28th August 2019, 06:17   #20
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Before the Kite re-intro scheme i believe that all known nests in Wales were surveyed and DNA samples were taken from the nestlings. The information gathered revealed a very low genetic diversity implying that all the birds were very closely related which makes sense considering they were reduced to a handful of breeding pairs thanks to localised Lead ‘poisoning’. The Welsh birds took a century to reach 100 pairs - look at how many there are just in the Chilterns in 20 years or so. Similiar with the WTE ok a bit more sluggish but 100+ pairs in 40 years.

I personally see nothing wrong in trying to balance things considering the effect that we have on their habitats. What concerns me more is the random and organised killing of birds of prey carried out with impunity by arrogant vested interests that do not give a toss and seem to be above the Law which unfortunately is implemented by their friends in the Judiciary.

In addition is the increasingly unproductive farmed landscape which has led to a massive decline not only in insects but the flower seed bank needed to sustain indigenous birdlife. Link that with widespread lowering of the water table and you have the present unsatisfactory situation.

When we leave the EU the sooner farming subsidies are linked to conservation values the better and multi-millionaires like Michael Heseltine (that large meteor didn’t kill them all) who live high on the Hog with subsidies will hopefully be a thing of the past...

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Old Wednesday 28th August 2019, 11:54   #21
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Hi Jos,

Thank you for the debating points.

I don't think there is a real contradiction between saying eagles are prevented from leaving Scotland southwards and that starting new projects elsewhere should not happen. I think the elimination of the problem is the next essential conservation action, not least because we know from the Hen Harrier that raptor persecution is already worse in England than in Scotland - though presumed to be regional, this means that heavily predatory raptors in England are at serious threat. One can argue that the rise of the Red Kite and the state of the Buzzard population deny this, but kites are understood by all to be essentially scavengers and Buzzards are under legal as well as illegal threat currently with licenses for their destruction being issued: one can safely assume this means someone is prepared to destroy them without moral scruple, so what price bigger raptors capable of taking bigger prey?

When I mentioned Goshawks it was specifically to emphasise that although they are common in the New Forest and have been so for years, this has not translated to a healthy population across Hampshire. If I go to the New Forest to look for Goshawk in suitable weather it will take me no more than an hour to see one. Where I live and spend most of my birding time - a lot of which is looking at the sky for raptors - I have not seen one for years: I am aware of just one pair within a ten mile radius of my home. This can only be because they are being specifically prevented from expanding across the county, which argues not only knowledge but the skills to identify and target them among the game-farming community and that they are actually doing so. Its a point I was also making in relation to Peregrines. They ought not to be confined to urban areas but as breeders they mostly seem to be.

My main issue with the current project is the likely welfare of the birds, including their ability to find nesting territories: and I don't believe there are enough safe areas in the South of England at present based on what is happening to other raptors. My other issue, like several other people, is that given the overall state of British raptors, every spare penny of raptor conservation funds is needed for Hen Harriers, not White-tailed Eagles.

Our Southern England harrier roosts are now tiny compared to what they were when I took up birding. Some have disappeared altogether. This must be because the source of Southern Britain winter birds was not principally the Continent but actually the native population that has been near-extinguished. This is the main crisis and this is the Southern Britain raptor spectacle that needs aid: but the aid is needed in the breeding areas, not in the South. A potential Northern powerhouse is being underfunded for a Southern vanity project. Sound familiar?

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Old Wednesday 28th August 2019, 17:04   #22
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Personally I am strongly in favour of this reintroduction and I hope it will be successful. There is the potential for birds to spread from here along the English coast, and potentially also cross the channel to the coasts of Normandy and Brittany, or the Channel Islands. It will add to the birding experience on the south coast, and will allow the human population of southern England to become reacquainted with wild predators after several centuries of ecologically-impoverished countryside.
There is no historical evidence that White-tailed Eagle has ever occurred in the Channel Islands, so expansion from a UK introduction would basically be an anthropogenic range extension of what for us is a non-native species.
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Old Wednesday 28th August 2019, 17:19   #23
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Hi Jos,

Thank you for the debating points.
It wasn't me :)

I do however agree with every word that the debater, John, said.
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Old Wednesday 28th August 2019, 17:27   #24
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There is no historical evidence that White-tailed Eagle has ever occurred in the Channel Islands, so expansion from a UK introduction would basically be an anthropogenic range extension of what for us is a non-native species.
There would be unlikely to be any? Doesn't mean they may not have occurred in the past (millenia past) if the Channel Islands would fit into range and habitat type within Western Europe.

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My main issue with the current project is the likely welfare of the birds, including their ability to find nesting territories: and I don't believe there are enough safe areas in the South of England at present based on what is happening to other raptors. My other issue, like several other people, is that given the overall state of British raptors, every spare penny of raptor conservation funds is needed for Hen Harriers, not White-tailed Eagles.
Is there any evidence that funds are being taken away from other projects? I'm sure this point came up in previous discussions of so-called 'vanity projects'. Different pots, different objectives, different possibilities.
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Old Wednesday 28th August 2019, 20:01   #25
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Is there any evidence that funds are being taken away from other projects? I'm sure this point came up in previous discussions of so-called 'vanity projects'. Different pots, different objectives, different possibilities.
Its obvious. Funds are finite, so any funds expended on incorrect priorities are funds denied to correct priorities. Not difficult really.

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